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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Plummer Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Plummer Terrier
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Plummer Terriers are highly prized for their hunting abilities and although they are not recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club, these charming hard-working dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. They are relatively new to the dog world having been created by crossing Jack Russells, Fox Terriers, Beagles and Bull Terriers with the end result being a charming, alert, keen and loyal little dog that loves nothing better than to be out and about working with their owners.
Because the Plummer Terrier is one of the lesser known breeds, finding a reputable breeder can prove challenging and anyone wanting to share a home with one would need to register their interest and go on a waiting list for the pleasure of doing so. The good news is the wait is well worth it, because Plummer Terriers are great fun to have around.
Plummer Terriers were originally bred to hunt rabbits and vermin and were given their name after the man who first created the breed during the 1960's. His name was Dr. David Brian Plummer and he developed the breed by using Jack Russells, Fell Terriers, Fox Terriers, Beagles and Bull Terriers. His passion for hunting and terrier-type breeds led him to becoming a canine genetics expert which all helped in his development of a hardworking, intelligent terrier that was to become the Plummer.
He introduced the Beagle into the mix in the 1960's and the line he used was from the United States being a russet "show-bred" line. Over time other outcrosses were used which included Fell Terriers that were noted for being from excellent "working" lines. Over the years, the breed has been refined and through careful, selective breeding by enthusiasts, the Plummer Terrier has gone from strength to strength on all fronts which includes appearance, temperament and health.
In 1994, the Plummer Terrier Club of Great Britain was established. However, Plummer Terriers are still not recognised by The Kennel Club as a breed (January 2018) although they are gaining popularity not only as working dogs, but as companions and family pets too thanks to their charming looks and loyal, affectionate albeit feisty natures. Although new to the scene, Plummers have been carefully and selectively bred which as a result has achieved a breed that is true to type for several years.
With this said, anyone wishing to share their home with a Plummer would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list, but as previously mentioned, the wait is well worth it because Plummers are so much fun to have around.
Height at the withers: Males 32 - 36 cm, Females 28 - 34 cm
Average weight: Males 5.5 - 7.5 kg, Females 5.5 - 7.5 kg
Plummers are small, sturdy and robust terriers that are always on the alert and which boast having the build of a true "working" dog. They have extremely flexible spines and powerful jaws. Legs are sturdy and strong without ever being heavily boned. Their feet are compact with nicely formed paw pads and strong nails. Their chests show plenty of room without ever being too wide. Shoulders are nicely formed and laid-back.
They have broad heads showing a good width between a dog's ears which are V-shaped being set high and well apart. Dogs carry their ears close to their heads while dropping forward. Stops are well-defined and muzzles strong, broad at the nose with dogs having a nice tapering jaw. Eyes are almond-shaped being dark brown in colour with Plummers always having an alert, "ready to go" look about them. They have a close scissor bite with lips being tight and darkly pigmented. Necks are a nice length and strong with dogs holding them a little arched while blending smoothly into the shoulders.
Plummers have compact bodies and nicely sprung, well laid-back ribs. Toplines are level and flexible. Loins are strong and supple with dogs showing a little tuck up which adds to their overall balanced look. Tails are set level with a dog's topline sloping a little downwards at a dog's croup. Dogs carry their tails high but never overly so. Hind legs are straight, well-muscled and strong with back feet being small, compact and round shaped with dogs having strong paw pads, nails and toes.
When it comes to their coat, Plummer Terriers have a short, tight and extremely waterproof coat which can be a variety of colour combinations including the following:
Plummers have a white collar or full white cape that stretches from their heads to their tails and their heads should be a solid red/tan with a white blaze or badger markings.
When a Plummer Terrier moves, they do so with great speed and purpose taking positive strides and showing great athletism. They have a brisk, enthusiastic gait that's always well-balanced and busy while at the same time showing a great deal of supple strength.
Prospective owners should be wary of any puppies or dogs that show any sort of exaggeration whether in their looks or conformation and that extra-small Plummers often come with many health issues so they are best avoided. A responsible breeder would always ensure that puppies they produce are of a good size and conformation and would avoid breeding extra small dogs for these reasons. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
The Plummer Terrier was bred to be a working dog and there is nothing these dogs enjoy more than to be outside doing something. They are not only active and energetic, but they are very intelligent too. As such, they need to be kept busy mentally or boredom quickly sets in. They are best suited to people who live in the country and who lead active, outdoor lives. They are not the best choice for first time owners because these little dogs need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with the particular needs of these highly intelligent and high energy terriers.
A Plummer Terrier needs to be well socialised from a young age and this must include introducing puppies to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated so they mature into well-rounded albeit lively adult dogs. Their training must begin as early as possible and rather than try to prevent a Plummer from doing what comes naturally to them, it's best to train dogs to do what is deeply embedded in their psyche.
Without enough exercise and mental stimulation, a Plummer Terrier would quickly develop some unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home which includes digging up rugs, furniture and anything else they can find. They thrive on being around people and as such are likely to suffer from separation anxiety if they are left to their own devices for any great length of time. They are best suited to households where at least one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out so they never must be left on their own for any length of time.
A Plummer Terrier is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household they may quickly take on the role of a dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
Plummer Terriers are not the best choice for first time dog owners even though they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families. The reason being that they are clever little dogs and therefore need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with this type of active, energetic and intelligent dog.
Plummers have a high prey drive thanks to the "terrier" in them and will happily chase anything that moves or that tries to run away from them. As such, care should always be taken as to where and when a Plummer can run off the lead more especially when livestock or wildlife is close by.
Plummers, like all other terriers are very playful by nature and thoroughly enjoy taking part in all sorts of interactive games and canine sports. They are also known to be a little bit mischievous when the mood takes them and they know how to get their own way too.
Although Plummers are highly adaptable, they are better suited to people who live in a country environment and who have ultra-secure back gardens they can roam in whenever possible because they are such active, high-energy terriers.
Plummers form extremely strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained. It could lead to a Plummer barking incessantly to get attention too.
Plummers are known to like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them. However, they are not known to be "yappy", they just like to voice and opinion whenever they can.
Most Plummers love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Plummer Terrier off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Plummers are natural watchdogs because they are always on the alert and like to be involved in everything that goes on around them. However, rarely would a Plummer show any sort of aggression towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance and bark as a way of alerting an owner to what is going on.
Plummer Terriers are very clever little dogs that need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of this type of alert and keen working dog. They can be quite strong willed which can make training them a bit challenging. They need to know who is the alpha dog in a household for them to be truly well-rounded dogs. With this said, in the right hands and environment, a Plummer is quick to learn new things.
The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad behaviours and habits as they are the good ones. As such their training not only has to start early, but it must be consistent and always fair throughout a dog's life so they know what is expected of them. Plummers are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things.
They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball, agility and obedience because they thrive on the attention they are given during their training and the one-to-one contact they have with their owners when they are competing. The key to successfully training a Plummer Terrier is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid being too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions that much shorter which helps keep a dog more focused on what is being asked of them.
Plummer Terrier puppies like all puppies are incredibly cute and it is all too easy to spoil them especially when they first arrive in their new homes. However, once a puppy is settled in and feels secure, they must be shown the limits and boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. All puppies must be taught their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog which means they understand what an owner expects of them.
Plummers are intelligent terriers even when they are so young and they can pick up bad habits and behaviours all too quickly. This can lead to them developing "small dog syndrome" a trait that's best avoided. As such, the first commands a Plummer puppy should be taught as early as possible are as follows:
Plummer Terriers are known to be very good around children. However, because they can be a little excitable at times, it's best for any interaction between younger children and dogs to be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could result in a toddler being knocked over and hurt.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Plummer would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. Care must be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets because of their high prey drive as such any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Plummer Terrier is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Plummer Terrier is known to be a healthy, robust little dog although they may be prone to suffering from the hereditary health issues that affect their various parent breeds. As such, any stud dogs used in a breeding programme should be tested for the health issues that might affect the breeds used in their lineage.
Plummer puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
These days, a lot of vets recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Plummers gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Some Plummers are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Plummer Terrier breeders would ensure that parent breeds are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Because the Plummer is not a KC recognised breed, there are no breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the breed under Kennel Club guidelines. However, breeders should follow the advice and recommendations as set out by the Kennel Club for all breeds.
For the moment, the Plummer Terrier is not a recognised Kennel Club breed, as such there are no Assured Breeder requirements. However, prospective owners should always contact responsible breeders when thinking about buying a Plummer puppy.
As with any other breed, Plummer Terriers need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Plummer Terrier puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Plummer Terrier puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Plummer Terrier puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Plummers need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Plummer Terrier in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Plummers need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older dogs don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Plummer Terriers are low maintenance in the grooming department thanks to their short, smooth and tight coats. A weekly or twice weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats in good condition. They shed throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from a dog's coat.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Plummer Terrier is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need at least 1 hour's exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Plummer would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they may be experiencing.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these high prey, energetic dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble, bearing in mind that Plummers are expert diggers.
With this said, Plummer puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Plummer Terrier puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Plummer puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 11 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Plummer Terrier must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Plummer can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Plummer Terrier, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred, healthy puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Plummer Terrier in northern England would be £21.52 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.45 a month (quote as of July 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Plummer and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Plummer Terrier would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred healthy Plummer Terrier puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Plummer Terriers although not as well-known as other terrier breeds, have over recent years found a big fan base in the UK which means that healthy, well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Plummers there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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